HC Deb 19 January 1989 vol 145 c470
4. Mr. Barry Field

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many environmentally sensitive areas have now received payments; and what the total estimated expenditure will be for 1988.

Mr. Ryder

There are 10 environmentally sensitive areas in England in which payments will be made in the financial year 1988–89. Those payments are estimated to amount to £8.3 million in total. Figures for the calendar year are not available.

Mr. Field

Does my hon. Friend agree that ESAs have made a valuable contribution to the Government's green policies and demonstrate the Government's care of the countryside? Can my hon. Friend tell the House how many farmers in environmentally sensitive areas who have not claimed ESA money have lost farm improvement grants? What does my hon. Friend intend to do about that when he considers the new conservation grant scheme?

Mr. Ryder

Statistics are not readily available, but outright refusal has been necessary in only a few cases. All agricultural improvement scheme applications in ESAs are examined from environmental viewpoints. Where there appears to be a risk of harm to the environment, farmers are advised how their plans can be modified to be compatible with ESA objectives.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

What plans are there to extend the number of ESAs, and what consideration is being given to extending them to those areas that still have restrictions on sheep movements as a result of the Chernobyl fallout?

Mr. Ryder

We shall be reviewing the ESAs in 1991 and 1992 when we shall consider existing boundaries and the possibility of expanding the number of ESAs. On the specific point raised by the hon. Gentleman, we do not foresee any particular changes at present.

Sir Charles Morrison

To assess the benefit or otherwise of ESAs it is clearly important that they should be adequately monitored. Is my hon. Friend sure that enough manpower and money to finance that manpower is being made available for that purpose?

Mr. Ryder

Yes, Sir.

Back to
Forward to